I wish to share my time with Deputy Sargent.
Private Members' Business. - Tolling of Roads: Motion (Resumed).
An Leas Cheann Comhairle
Is that satisfactory? Agreed.
I strongly support the motion tabled by Fianna Fáil on the tolling of roads. There is a dearth of ideas from Government whenever Fianna Fáil puts forward proposals. It trawls through past records to see what Fianna Fáil said on different dates and times. I find that a pathetic form of Government. The Government should share its thinking and ideas, if it has any, rather than adopting this ridiculous, negative approach towards every idea put forward by my party in this House.
I warn the Minister that motorists will not accept more tolls on the Dublin ring road. Motorists currently pay more than £1,700 million per annum in the form of taxes and duties on vehicles, parts and fuel. The investment of even a quarter of this money each year in maintenance and improvements will give a first class road network. Instead the European taxpayer is depended on for most of our national road improvements despite the massive taxation on our motorists. It is time to call a halt to toll proposals as the case for imposing an additional fine for using motorways for which motorists have paid many times does not stand up.
Work on the continuation of the western ring road southwards is due to start next year and the Minister should make it clear that he will not approve a toll scheme for this new road. He should give a clear message to the National Roads Authority rather than putting down this nonsense of an amendment which means nothing. Attacking Fianna Fáil for the sake of doing so is a serious neglect of his responsibilities. The EU has given us funding for national roads in order to provide us with a more effective and efficient road network, not to provide the State with a taxing mechanism. Tolling motorways means that the EU will give less financial support.
Minister Howlin said in the past that he would consider tolling schemes where there was an alternative route. I suggest that the southern ring route is being constructed to take traffic out of the city and away from residential suburban areas. Placing a toll on this ring road will send thousands of motorists back into these congested routes. Recently my party leader, Deputy Ahern, visited my constituency of Dublin South and we agreed that the most important issue was traffic. When the northern cross route is constructed additional traffic will enter the southern parts of Dublin city and county. The residents of South Dublin have waited over 20 years for this vital relief road and are entitled to it.
Why does the National Roads Authority have the right to introduce toll schemes? It is the Minister for the Environment's reserve function to approve such a scheme. He should not approve the tolling of that route in the interests of the safety of local residents, the environment, an efficient and free flowing system and hard pressed motorists. The presence of a highwayman will not be accepted on this vital relief road. I thank my colleague, Deputy Dempsey, for putting this motion before the House. That it is a matter of concern to many is evidenced by the number who have contributed and I ask the Minister to give a clear message to the NRA.
Ba mhaith liom ar dtús buíochas a ghabhaíl leis an dTeachtaire Kitt as do chuid ama a roinnt. I wish to remember the family, friends and relatives of the 17 million people who have been killed on our roads since the introduction of the motor car. A ridiculous proposal has been mooted on the tolling of the Dublin C Ring and I support the motion in so far as it tackles this. It would be a completely counter productive measure, tantamount to tolling a by-pass. The idea of a by-pass is to prevent traffic going through a town or city. Tolling would simply drive traffic through residential areas and exacerbate present problems. However, in opposing the toll road, the Government has a role to play. It is engaging in rhetoric on what guidelines are there and on what is already in place but it has no proposals. This is not sufficient and I hope the Government recognises that before it is too late.
There is a need for traffic calming measures on the ancillary roads off the C ring and the Lee tunnel to ensure the residents on these roads who have suffered far too long will not suffer more from people who will drive on them regardless of the opening of new roads. The Government needs to put in place, with the space that is available from reduced traffic measures, a proper cycle network and bus routes for commuters to ensure public transport is run efficiently.
The northern cross route has been ready to open for a long time but it is not open. Is that because the official opening of the road is to tie in with a Christmas party for county or city councillors as was mentioned at a meeting of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce? There is need to open this road. Will the Government indicate why it has not been opened?
It is time to look at other cities for solutions to our problems. Singapore and Oslo have bitten the bullet on tolling and do not toll ring roads. They provide park and ride facilities to encourage people not to take their cars through built up areas that were never designed for cars. They also toll non essential vehicles going through those cities. It is a matter of looking at the radial routes coming into the city, not at the ring roads, if money is to be clawed back on that type of venture. This is a piecemeal exercise in looking at tolling. Taxation should be reviewed and a tax on labour should be replaced with a comprehensive carbon tax so that we would be paying for damage rather than paying for labour which is in vast supply. Finite resources should be taxed.
I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak on this motion but I am amused at the hypocrisy of the Fianna Fáil Party in putting down such a motion.
The Deputy is easily amused.
I am amused at the party's about turn on this motion. It is not surprising that Fianna Fáil in its years in Government did one thing and in Opposition it would do the opposite. This is a classic example of the type of U-turn politics——
Obviously the Deputy has not read the motion.
That sounds like Cabinet confidentiality.
Deputy Dempsey is seeking to be politically opportunistic by putting down a motion which he knows in his heart and soul is lunacy. His party is seeking to block for all time the type of private sector finance I thought his party would welcome. It welcomed private sector investment in roads in the past.
Has the Deputy read the motion.
I read it. I did not interrupt the Deputy.
It must not be the same one we tabled.
I seek the Chair's indulgence as I am unable to make my contribution because of interruptions.
The Minister for the Environment, Deputy Howlin, outlined in classic style yesterday the catalogue of legislation and regulation introduced by Fianna Fáil to establish the toll concept. For example, the Local Government (Toll Roads) Act, 1979 was introduced by Sylvester Barrett when he was Minister for the Environment. The operational programme on peripherality, 1990 was introduced by Fianna Fáil Ministers under Deputy Séamus Brennan when he was Minister for transport. The national plan of October 1993 and the community support framework, 1994 were submitted and promoted by the Minister of Finance of the day, none other than the Leader of Fianna Fáil, Deputy Ahern. The operational programme 1994-9 submitted by the then Ministers Cowen and Smith in 1994 envisaged a massive £100 million being raised by the imposition of tolls on various roads. After that catalogue of legislation, statements and programmes introduced by Fianna Fáil when it was in Government, it is nothing short of breathtaking political hypocrisy for that party to now seek to do the complete opposite.
Fianna Fáil and various Ministers for the Environment in the past number of years have neglected roads. That is why when this Government took office it had to introduce a ten year programme with substantially increased funds, particularly in regard to non-national roads, to give political priority to a matter that had been left lying in dormant political style by Fianna Fáil for many years. Local authorities were starved of finance to carry out the essential job of improving our county road network. People living in rural areas and close to county roads are entitled to a decent standard of living. Those involved in agriculture and tourism are entitled to a good road network comparable to our national road network, which has been substantially improved over the years, principally sourced from European Union funds. I cannot understand why Fianna Fáil is now saying that the National Roads Authority should not at any time introduce the concept of tolling by raising private sector finance
Will the Deputy allow an intervention?
I can ask the Deputy to take an intervention in the latter stages of his contribution when he has made his points.
Deputy Hogan made the same point three times and it is incorrect and misleading.
The Deputy may seek to intervene in perhaps some minutes from now.
I wish to share time with Deputy Broughan.
I am sure that is agreed.
Many improvements have been carried out to our national roads network during the past number of years, principally sourced from European Union funds, but a good deal still remains to be done. I am sure that all Members will examine their constituencies closely in regard to work required to bring our national roads network up to a better standard. I acknowledge that successive Ministers through the European Union implemented various programmes of expenditure which have brought our national roads network into line with the 21st century and closer to our expectations of what would be required by our national roads network.
I draw to the Minister's attention the glaring omission from the last national plan of various proposals from the south east regional development authority, which deals mainly with roads traversing County Kilkenny. At that time the various proposals made seem to have been ignored by the Department of Finance. I hope that proposals regarding roads made at that time, principally in regard to roads from Kilkenny and Dublin to Waterford, will be closely examined in the context of the mid-term review. It would be not be helpful to anybody for a Deputy from a constituency in that area or any part of the southeast to block a source of funds from the private sector, which is what is intended under this motion. It reflects a change of mind and direction by Fianna Fáil on mobilising private sector finance for road development. It would have made leaders of Fianna Fáil like Seán Lemass unhappy. I do not believe that he or successive leaders would have engaged in this type of charade of political opportunism. I am disappointed that Deputy Dempsey and his party considered it necessary to table this motion, in the context of gathering sources of finance for the development of our national roads network at a time when we have a unique opportunity with available finance and a degree of additionality from European Union as well as Exchequer sources to bring our national roads network up to a required standard to meet the transport challenges of the future. This is even more essential around major urban centres, such as Dublin and Cork. I reject the motion as an opportunity for political point-scoring. The motion put forward by the Fianna Fáil Party is a political U-turn and it does not befit the dignity of this House. I now hand over to my colleague, Deputy Broughan.
Is the Deputy stating——
Deputy Hogan has resumed his seat.
On a point of information, as Deputy Hogan appears to be the only speaker in Fine Gael who will speak on this motion——
He has resumed his seat.
——is Deputy Hogan speaking on behalf of his party and is he stating that his party——
I wish to share my time with Deputies Seán Ryan and Eric Byrne.
I am sure that is agreed.
I travelled to the Dáil this morning from City Hall through a city on the verge of gridlock in many areas.
Build a tunnel.
Let us have order.
I blame that on successive Fianna Fáil anti-Dublin Governments which refused to invest in Dublin infrastructure during the past 25 to 35 years.
Build a tunnel.
Deputy Lawlor, please desist.
It is outrageously hypocritical that we are discussing this motion on tolling the C ring or the Lee tunnel.
So the Deputy is in favour of the motion?.
I am utterly opposed to any tolling of the Lee tunnel or the C ring. This is a hypocritical motion tabled by Fianna Fáil who are the toll masters supreme. As my ministerial colleague, Deputy Howlin, outlined graphically last night, Fianna Fáil laid down the structures for the private tolling of public infrastructure over the past 25 years. That party and some of the shadowy vested interests it represents over the past 20 years, through the 1979 Act introduced by the former Minister, Sylvester Barrett, laid the framework for this and now Fianna Fáil want this motion passed.
Will the Deputy vote for the motion?
During the 1980s the same spectre hung over us. The House will remember that in 1989 the former Minister, Pádraig Flynn, invited a toll based investment in the C ring on an EU-wide basis. I am not sure if other speakers pointed out that Fianna Fáil has already tolled the C ring at the Western Parkway. That is the essence of the hypocrisy of the motion before us. They are now shedding crocodile tears about the proposal to toll further stretches of that motorway. It is complete and utter nonsense.
Fortunately, I have in my possession a letter from our famous Commissioner, Mr. Flynn — dated 10 January 1991, when he was Minister for the Environment — in which he demanded the then Dublin County Council to change its recent vote against the principle of tolling the C ring, specifically the Northern Cross.
Fianna Fáil voted against that also.
A Fianna Fáil Minister put the council under pressure by demanding that it reconsider its decision and give private interests the right to toll our public infrastructure. This document shows what arrant hypocrisy has been displayed last night and this morning. The tollmasters supreme are those who want us to think they are against tolling.
Will Deputy Broughan vote with us?
Only recently we saw the same general trends, originally encouraged by Fianna Fáil, in the Community Support Framework and the Operational Programme.
I am against tolling of the C ring and the Cork tunnel for two fundamental reasons. Deputy Dempsey alluded to the first one last night — the Northern Cross, which goes through my constituency, has already been paid for by taxpayers and motorists. It is outrageous that someone should demand that we pay for it a second time. My colleague from the Green Party may feel we should have higher energy taxes but our levels of VRT and motor taxation are already among the highest in the world. We have paid extensively through our motor taxation for the development which is now, at long last, taking place. We should not be forced to pay for it a second time.
The purpose of the Dublin C ring was to divert heavy traffic — particularly port traffic, following the building of the tunnel — away from our city centre. I have been a member of the Dublin Transportation Initiative for four years and chairperson of the Dublin Corporation general purposes committee for the same period. We have laid down a series of traffic management measures for Dublin city, in which the 12 wards were divided on a cell-type basis to enable major traffic to be diverted out of those areas. They have not been sufficiently successful, particularly in the inner city, and we are awaiting extra development and public transport. However, were any proposal to toll the C ring to go ahead, it would inevitably wreck our traffic management strategy, which is struggling to succeed. Any move to toll the C ring would be a retrograde step.
Dublin needs more infrastructure in public transport and roads. I congratulate the Minister, Deputy Howlin, for the tremendous work he has done. In the past few years, his record on national primary roads is second to none in the history of the Department. The targets he has set——
He is three years behind with the programme.
Fianna Fáil had seven years but did not do the work.
Deputy Spring was there for a while also.
It was Fianna Fáil who negotiated the money for it.
Deputy Broughan without interruption, please.
This year the Minister will deliver 4,000 schemes and 7,000 kilometres of national roads. He has laid the foundation for a good infrastructure for the whole country. I would like that development to continue in such a way that the Dublin region will receive an adequate share of future resources.
There may be a shortage of investment in some developments around the country. Some schemes in which the private sector would be interested may not have received deep thought as yet. For example, our local authority received a presentation on the east-west tunnel from a private consortium which was prepared to finance it and receive the stream of income from any traffic through it, had it been built. Under the guidelines in the Act, if private interests wish to undertake schemes they feel will provide a reasonable stream of income in future years, such proposals should be taken to the NRA and the relevant local authority. However, the schemes mentioned in this motion were dearly paid for from public money and will play a crucial role in the traffic management of our first and second cities. I think I speak for all Dublin Deputies in stating my bitter opposition to any such development.
I am pleased to have the opportunity to contribute. Having listened to this morning's debate and read last night's proceedings and the Minister's speech, I notice the utter hypocrisy of the Fianna Fáil motion.
It ranks far behind the hypocrisy about TEAM Aer Lingus.
As the Minister said last night, for the past 20 years various Fianna Fáil Ministers and the current spokesperson have advocated tolling. Is it any wonder the public are cynical about politicians when they take decisions in Government but play to the gallery when in Opposition?
The Gallery is empty on this occasion.
The motion refers to the Northern Cross route and the Lee tunnel in Cork. Is Fianna Fáil still in favour of tolling?
This is an important issue, not only for my constituents but for all of Dublin. There is a consensus in my constituency — among businessmen, hauliers and local residents — in opposition to the tolling of the Northern Cross route. Our concern is that tolling of the road will undermine the reason for building it. I welcome the Minister's assurance that there is no proposal before him to toll this road and his confirmation that if and when such a proposal is made by the NRA, he will subject it to rigorous examination. I hope he will reject it.
All experts recognise that tolling a link road will force people off it, and this would spell disaster for the surrounding communities. "Rat-running" is already a problem in many Dublin estates, including towns in Fingal such as Swords, and undoubtedly the same is true in Cork. We cannot afford to compound the problem. Tolling will only serve to delay traffic on the link road and in so doing increase the attractiveness of "rat-running".
As Deputy Woods said last night, we will have to deal with the philosophy behind tolling at some stage. The Minister is correct to point out that it is an option in further road funding and that improvements to our roads must continue. It may also encourage more frequent use of public transport as against other road transport. The Labour party has always encouraged further finance for public transport — we went to Brussels to lobby about the light rail system and obtained the finance required to enable it to go ahead. However, judging by these criteria, tolling link roads is counter-productive.
The Minister is also correct to point out Fianna Fáil's hypocrisy on this issue. Week after week in Private Members' time, its Members queue up to reject positions they previously advocated when in Government.
This week is no exception. However, the Minister's contribution outlined the reality of Fianna Fáil's approach to road tolling. Does Fianna Fáil think the people are stupid? Deputy Martin accused the Minister of failing to provide local government funding. Notwithstanding the statements by the former Ministers, Deputy Bertie Ahern and Deputy Harney that they were prepared to work together on local government funding, they fudged the issue and ran when the opportunity arose. The electorate will not believe such nonsense again.
That is totally untrue. Will the Deputy allow an intervention?
Does the Deputy wish to allow an intervention from Deputy Dempsey?
I have no objection.
We responded to the Minister, Deputy Howlin, when he put a proposal to us on local government financing, but we have not yet received a reply. Perhaps the Deputy would arrange for a reply to be issued.
Fianna Fáil ran away from the matter when the opportunity arose.
The Deputy should answer the question.
The Minister's commitment to road development is clear. Despite promises by Fianna Fáil year after year, general election after general election to provide the necessary finance to develop the much-needed Balbriggan bypass it was not made available. This year however £7 million was allocated to build that road. We hear much nonsense from Fianna Fáil Deputies. Last night Deputy Burke castigated the Labour Party on its performance. Our performance will stand up to scrutiny. The people of Balbriggan are aware of the Labour Party's commitment to the much-needed bypass which, despite the broken promises of Fianna Fáil down the years, is now in operation.
The Government would not put a toll on that road.
It is a compliment to the Government that the best the Fianna Fáil think-tank can come up with for Private Members' time is this incredibly silly motion. It is a clear indication of the political bankruptcy within Fianna Fáil.
The Deputy should talk to his constituents.
This issue highlights the fact that Fianna Fáil is shooting itself in the foot. Speaker after speaker highlighted the hypocrisy of Fianna Fáil. It is amazing that a party as large, famous and supposedly talented as Fianna Fáil should come in here with this incredibly silly motion. The acrobatics of Fianna Fáil never cease to amaze me. For years it merrily accepted and promoted tolling. It had no problem accepting private sector capital to finance road development or cementing the statutory foundations for road tolls. Nobody knows better than Fianna Fáil that private sector finance comes with a price, and in this case the price is tolls.
In 1978 Fianna Fáil introduced the Local Government (Toll Roads) Bill and in 1989 in a European Union operational programme submission it noted that four roads might be candidates for tolling. They included the Dublin ring road and the river Lee downstream crossing. Now however Fianna Fáil, in the guise of Deputy Dempsey who projects the wide-eyed bushy-haired innocence of Opposition, weeps crocodile tears at the toll burden on motorists and voices indignant opposition to tolls on the remainder of the Dublin C Ring and Lee tunnel. I have to laugh at Fianna Fáil's attempts to rewrite history since this Government came to power.
We have a long way to go to catch up with Democratic Left.
We would be able to recognise our own signatures.
Its actions during the past two years would put in the shade the various controversies surrounding the Michael Collins film——
I would ask the Deputy not to invite comments.
——but I doubt whether they will attract similar attention. I have reservations about tolling in certain cases not simply because it places an additional burden on motorists but because it results in dissuading heavy traffic from using toll roads, diverting it through congested residential communities.
Deputy Dempsey made a particularly interesting point last night that motorists should not pay tolls because they already pay for roads through taxes. That point has been consistently made by Democratic Left in terms of the unsatisfactory means of collecting taxes by way of water charges. I would have been delighted if Fianna Fáil during its years in Government applied the same logic to water taxes as it now applies to tolls. In Opposition it did not have a problem with that form of double taxation.
The Deputy does not seem to have too much trouble with it in Government.
This debate is nothing but a puff of smoke. I have no doubt any decision on a tolling scheme will take account of the relevant social, environmental and economic considerations. While we are once again focusing largely on facilitating private motorists, it is particularly depressing that cities are grinding to a halt with endless traffic congestion caused by one-occupant cars. This problem must be addressed. Instead of this silly motion from Fianna Fáil I would have welcomed an attempt to address that more complex issue.
The focus of the debate should be transferred from private motorists to alternatives in the area of public transport. In Dublin the Luas proposal has for the first time triggered meaningful debate in this regard. Whatever the outcome of that proposal many people in Dublin will still be without an efficient and environmentally friendly public transport system. That is the real challenge facing us.
Fianna Fáil Deputies will probably remember the incredible waste of public funding some years ago when the county council of which Deputy Lawlor is a member had to send in contractors with pneumatic drills and JCBs to remove from the C Ring the foundations of toll booths that had been put in place by the Fianna Fáil Government at the time. An outrageous decision was made by Fianna Fáil to subvert local democracy by insisting that the C Ring be tolled. The foundations for the toll booth, which cost a fortune — unfortunately the Minister of State, Deputy Rabbitte, is not here to tell us exactly how much it cost the taxpayer — had to be physically removed because the county council decided that the road should not be tolled. I do not know whether Deputy Dempsey is aware of that but he should have been made aware of it before he came in here with this motion.
I am aware of it and will give the Deputy a history lesson if he waits for my contribution.
I wish to share my time with Deputies Bertie Ahern and Séamus Brennan.
Is that agreed? Agreed.
I agree with Deputy Byrne's comments on tolling of the C Ring. I was probably the person responsible for preventing the then Minister, Mr. Flynn, from railroading proposals that were still in the hands of local democracy. The Western Parkway runs through the heart of my constituency. The Northern and Southern Cross routes are key strategic links between the various satellite towns and the diversion of traffic which would result from the tolling of the Western Parkway is, therefore, a matter of serious concern to all those who benefit from the rerouting of heavy traffic from residential areas.
I fail to see how tolls will work. The proposal put forward by Manufacteurs Hanover, involving the French concept under which one pays as one joins a motorway, was accepted. It is already in a shambles. It was not long before road design engineers in the Department of the Environment and at local authority level, in a predictable move, were constructing traffic lights to relieve traffic congestion on the Western Parkway on which traffic was not flowing freely. They then tried to widen the roundabouts by reducing the size of footpaths. This served to highlight their incompetence.
It was suggested that the West Link Bridge should be linked to a roundabout but the same road engineers did not listen — this is not an unfair criticism — and constructed it near the old Navan Road. A large roundabout was provided nearby. In a predictable move, this had to be pulled down within two years. There is now severe traffic congestion and long tail backs, and it is likely that traffic lights will have to be constructed at the Blanchardstown conjunction.
To provide a bus lane on the Dublin-Galway dual carriageway traffic lights and islands had to be set back. Why was this not foreseen? It appears that traffic jams are being created as a direct result of investment in the road network in the Dublin region. Deputy Molloy said that the trip to the west used to take three-and-a-half hours, last Friday it took seven hours. There are traffic jams at the Strawberry Beds because motorists will not use the Dublin-Galway dual carriageway due to the long tail backs. Given that the present system is already inadequate the proposal to introduce tolls is grossly unacceptable as it would result in the diversion of traffic from the motorway to residential areas.
The motion is both realistic and practical. I urge Dublin Corporation, of which Deputies Byrne and Broughan are members, to proceed with the building of the tunnel and to complete the works on Patrick Street, in the Coombe and all of the other problem areas throughout the city. The Deputies should not make political speeches.
We should be clear on what we are debating. Public road tolls are a new form of taxation and that is the issue confronting us. It is one of the most idiotic forms of taxation thought up for some time. Those who advocate their introduction are, in effect, advocating higher Government expenditure and higher taxation.
The East and West Link Bridges are tolled. When a member of Dublin Corporation I strongly supported the proposal to construct the East Link Bridge in 1978-79 and tried to convince people of the benefits to the city. Both projects were privately funded, unlike road projects which are funded from national and European sources. I was proud to be the key negotiator in the last two rounds of Structural Funds negotiations on behalf of the Governments led by Charles Haughey in 1989 and Deputy Albert Reynolds in 1993. There was a clear need for new roads to try, as Deputy Lawlor said, to relieve severe traffic congestion in our cities.
Motorists are paying far more in taxes than is being spent on roads. I am sure the Minister has the figures for this year but last year the Government collected £289 million in motor vehicle duties and £725 million in hydrocarbon duties, not all of which relates to motor fuel. According to the Book of Estimates, State spending in 1996 on roads will be approximately £318 million. By any calculation, motorists are paying way in excess of what is being spent by the State on road maintenance and improvements. There is, therefore, no case, either in logic or equity, for a special tax on road use. As we all know, some of the revenues earmarked for roads would be used to substitute existing expenditure so there would be no guarantee of additionality. Even if there was such a guarantee, I very much doubt that the economic case for an accelerated road building programme would outweigh the effect of levying a new tax.
Two centuries ago there were formal and informal tolls throughout Ireland and the rest of Europe. There were the official tolls and the highwaymen whom Barry Lydon encountered on his journey to Dublin. The Minister for the Environment, Deputy Howlin, in this instance is planning a highway robbery. If he was confident that he could get away with it, he would, probably, be tolling many of the new roads throughout the country but the crime would be committed at arm's length by the National Roads Authority. The Minister could pretend that it was not he who made the decision and that he has no influence on the Authority.
Tolls were one of the hindrances to the free movement of goods which is the reason they were got rid of. Reintroducing tolls on public roads would be a retrograde step, damaging and senseless. It would result in the slowing down of traffic and be an impediment to the free flow of goods and services. That is the last thing we need. One has only to travel to this House at any time of the day to see the difficulties being encountered despite some excellent road construction work by the Department of the Environment and road planners in general.
There are sound environmental reasons why bypasses around cities should not be tolled. The purpose of a motorway bypass is to divert through traffic from the city. Imposing tolls would simply limit the benefits.
I represent the inner city. During the years I have become aware of what truck and lorry drivers will do to dodge tolls on the East Link, they will travel the entire length of the quays and the North Circular Road to avoid paying them. If one talks to transport managers, one will learn that people will do anything to earn an extra £20-£30 per week, even if it means longer journeys and a greater number of hours on the road.
We are now going to open up the M50, an excellent road structure for which I was honoured as Minister for Finance to sign the contract, to areas in the constituencies of my colleagues, Deputies Burke, Lawlor and Dempsey. People living in Santry, Whitehall, Finglas, Blanchardstown, Lucan, Walkinstown and Clondalkin will be affected by this and will continue to use the Navan Road, thereby defeating the object of the exercise. That does not make any sense.
There are sound environmental reasons why bypasses around cities should not be tolled. The whole purpose is to push this traffic away. The Lee tunnel is close to Cork city centre and if a toll is put in place traffic will simply go around it. A toll would also lead to traffic tailbacks at certain times. The Lee tunnel would be of major benefit in opening up west Cork and providing rapid access to the port of Ringaskiddy and to Cobh on the other side of the estuary. The use of the Lee tunnel should be encouraged, not impeded.
There are many toll roads in France but some of them are lightly used, which defeats the purpose for which they were built. I have met the mayors of many small towns and villages in France who have told me about the difficulties created by tolls.
Fianna Fáil examined this issue carefully in the late 1980s on the basis of encouraging private investment in road building. We were unable to work out any satisfactory arrangement in relation to the ring road for which we now have European money — I was involved in those negotiations. We are resolutely opposed to any new form of taxation. The Labour Party was responsible for the introduction of residential property tax and, given half a chance, it would introduce road tolls and many other new taxes.
The task of the next Government will be to reduce the tax burden. In the past two years revenue and expenditure have risen by three times the rate of inflation. Already we see problems building up for the future in regard to how we can fund that level of expenditure when interest rates increase, as they do on a cyclical basis, and as economic growth slows down.
A vote for this motion is an opportunity to say "no" to a combination of tax and spend policies that Fine Gael denounced so strongly in Opposition but is now advocating. The Taoiseach does not care about the level of expenditure as long as he can get money from corporation tax, private individuals or road users. He will not mind if expenditure increases by 11 per cent if the revenues increase by 11.5 per cent. He believes that is in order. That strategy is so different from the one he advocated on this side of the House when we were trying to bring order to the national finances. He opposed all our efforts to have centralised agreements.
I call on the Government to make it unequivocally clear to the electorate in this debate whether it will approve the levying of tolls by the National Roads Authority. It is a matter for the Government; the National Roads Authority does not appear to have any say in this matter. The Minister can move items up and down the agenda to suit himself. We on this side of the House have intelligence and it is ridiculous for the Minister to say this is a matter for the National Roads Authority.
This issue is being driven by people who simply believe in taxation. I am shocked by my Labour colleagues in the House who may vote for this proposal. I cannot understand how they can force people living in the vicinity of the Navan Road, Drumcondra Road, Swords and various other areas to endure continuous traffic congestion. As one of my colleagues said yesterday, drug abuse is the biggest problem in this city but traffic congestion is the next major issue. Traffic congestion is economically damaging to the country and to business.
I am delighted Dublin Port is doing so well and that the developments we put in place in Government are working, but it is regrettable that the plan to guide traffic around the port and along the M50 will not be proceeded with. Traffic will continue to go through the rat runs and the various proposals put forward to ease traffic congestion, including traffic calming measures and bus lanes, will be for nought if this measure goes ahead.
I hope that between now and 1.30 p.m. the Minister of State will do an about-turn on this issue. She need not worry about doing that because her colleagues are doing about-turns on every issue.
They cannot keep up with the Deputy.
There can be no fudging of this issue. The electorate is entitled to draw the appropriate conclusions. I hope the motion in the name of Deputy Dempsey is supported because if not we will have tolls on our roads. That would be a retrograde step in regard to traffic management, particularly in this city.
My amendment states: To delete all words after "the £1.5 billion contribution made by motorists to the Exchequer," and substitute "recognises the lack of progress in improving our national roads and accepts the need for a major programme of private-sector involvement in the provision of public infrastructure, as recommended in the Forfás Report `Shaping our Future'.".
I welcome this motion which gives us an opportunity to debate the tolls issue and to report the progress or otherwise of the National Roads Authority. For several weeks I have asked that the annual report of the NRA be debated in this House. In 1994 the Government published a national roads programme to take this country up to the end of the century. That programme was couched in fancy language. There was talk of economic corridors, inter-urban networks and integrated network improvement. In practice, however, that has not turned out to be a strategic plan for upgrading our roads system but rather a collection of by-pass projects for individual towns.
One is tempted to ask if we have a roads policy or just a roundabouts policy because the collection of roundabouts on our roads would puzzle the ordinary motorist. It is now apparent that even the relatively modest targets set in 1994 will not be met and that many of the projects outlined in that programme will not be built before the end of the century. Unfortunately, some of them will never be built.
Work was due to start on the Kildare by-pass in 1995 but not a sod has yet been turned. We are told the project will go to tender early next year. Work was due to start on the Nenagh by-pass in 1995 but, yet again, not a sod has been turned. All we have are tentative indications that this project may get under way some time in the next few years. Work was due to start on the Loughrea by-pass in 1995 but a construction date has not yet been settled for the completion of that project. The list is long.
Kinnegad is one of the major bottlenecks in our primary roads system. It causes major problems for motorists travelling through Dublin and on to the west. This bank holiday weekend saw three mile tailbacks around that town and yesterday in the House Deputy Molloy said it took seven hours to make the journey from Galway to Dublin last weekend.
Completion of this project ought to be a major national priority yet it is only at the preliminary design stage and there is little or no possibility of its getting under way before the end of the century.
Drogheda, County Louth, is another major bottleneck on the country's busiest primary route, the Dublin-Belfast N1 route. This ought to be a priority project but no progress has been made and construction is unlikely to commence before the end of the century.
In my Cork constituency the Blackpool by-pass, long since promised and planned to become a key link in the city's infrastructure, has not yet commenced. The proposed 1.25 mile road was planned to connect the new Mallow dual-carriageway with the centre of Cork and the rest of the national primary route network. At present the situation is ludicrous. A four lane super highway finishes at the borough boundary and then feeds into a tangle of small city streets in Blackpool. This has caused huge environmental problems. It makes no commercial sense that this situation should have been allowed to developed. The city of Cork will not fulfil its true economic potential until this road is built nor will any job-generating investment be put into the northside of Cork city, an area starved of jobs, until the Blackpool by-pass is in place. The IDA industrial estate at Kilbarry continues to suffer from poor road access and it is grossly under developed in terms of the provision of job-generating outlets.
The estimated cost of the Blackpool by-pass is £15 million. The EU will foot 75 per cent of that bill, leaving this country to find about £900,000 per year for four years to complete the project. To put this figure in context, it is roughly half the annual cost of running the office of the Tánaiste. The project was scheduled for completion by the year 2000. At the present rate of progress, it is very unlikely the project will have even commenced by then.
We are missing a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring our roads up to European standards. The EU is giving us billions of pounds to do the job. It is putting up 75 per cent of the funding for individual projects. We have been warned many times that other mid-European countries less developed than Ireland will qualify for the next tranche of funding and will have a stronger claim on the level of funding which Ireland received in the past. Ireland is not likely to get that level of funding in the future. I will return to the need the Progressive Democrats see for private investment in road construction.
With regard to the main subject of this motion, the tolling of roads, the experience of East Link and West Link has shown that people are willing to pay tolls where private funds have been used to put new roads in place. What people are not willing to do is pay tolls on roads which have already been built with their money because that smacks of double or even treble taxation in a country where even modest incomes are heavily hit by the taxman and car buyers face some of the highest tax rates in Europe. The motorist contributes about £1.6 billion annually to the Exchequer. Of that, only about 25 per cent is ploughed back into the improvement of roads. By any standards motorists are bled to the bone by the taxman and until there is sizeable tax reform and tax reduction we should not consider imposing any further tax on motorists.
It is not the practice in any other developed country to put tolls on ring roads around major cities because it is counterproductive. The purpose for which the ring roads were constructed in the first place stands to be defeated because the traffic for which they were planned doubles back if tolls are charged. Attempts are made to rat run through busy city streets and small urban estates. That defeats the purpose of expenditure on ring-roads in the first instance.
If there is an attempt to impose tolls on the Lee tunnel, people living in Tivoli and Glanmire who could use that tunnel twice a day to get to and from work will not use it. Instead they will use busy city streets and cause enormous congestion and grave environmental damage.
These two points must be taken on board by the Government and I look forward to the Minister's response to these two specific issues. We must use our judgment on these matters. People will not pay tolls on roads which have been constructed with revenue from their taxation. Privately funded roads need not necessarily require direct toll charging either.
The approach to date to the road building programme shows slow progress and greatly increases the length of time it takes to complete projects. It will take longer to build the Portlaoise by-pass, for instance, than it took to build the Channel Tunnel. Part of the reason is the level and extent of bureaucracy. There are at least four layers, each of which is involved in major road building projects: the Department of the Environment; the newly appointed semi-State body, the National Roads Authority, the local authorities and the contractors who carry out the work. The bureaucracy in any given project is multiplied by four before work can commence and be completed. This is part of the reason the roads programme has been so slow. In Northern Ireland, for example, the Department of the Environment oversees the building of all major roads. Only one agency is involved in getting road building projects under way and completed. Of course, Northern Ireland's road building programme is carried out more speedily and successfully than ours. We would do well to emulate that example.
We would also do well to seek private investment in road building projects without further delay. The way of the future is to seek out a partnership between the State and private investors to carry out the road building projects which are needed urgently if this country is to compete successfully with European rivals. This Government has failed to examine, explore and exploit that area for ideologically reasons. If and when we succeed in doing so, the public will have a different attitude to tolling roads because the public is nothing if not fair-minded and it will understand that roads built with private capital will make a contribution, whether direct or otherwise. As matters stand, the public does not intend to pay for tolls on roads which have been built with money from its pocket.
I appeal to this Government to examine the Forfás report Shaping our Future. That report sets out, clearly and cogently, the direction we ought to take and I ask the Government to consider it as a matter of urgency. At a number of meetings of the Whips I asked that the annual report of the National Roads Authority be fully debated in this House because there is an unsatisfactory rate of progress under its road building programmes.
I will briefly comment on the motion before the House from my perspective as a Dublin based Deputy. Part of the C ring road is in my constituency and I am concerned about its effects on my area. The ring road will form an important part of the infrastructure of the road network in west Dublin and will also ensure that unsuitable traffic is removed from suburban roads. I am totally opposed to the tolling of the ring road because it would result in shifting traffic to suburban roads.
However, tolling cannot be totally dismissed. Its use was suggested by the Dublin Transport Organisation as a means of ensuring that traffic is directed to the correct road networks. The DTO's contributions to the review of Dublin's traffic problems stressed that we may be obliged to consider blocking roads to certain types of traffic at particular times of the day to ensure that the appropriate roads are used. I know of no other method which could be used, but we must consider all methods of road management relevant to traffic control.
At present, motorists are using unsuitable distributary, suburban and small commuter roads. If some penalty is not introduced for the inappropriate use of roads, there will be no instrument available to force traffic to use the correct roads. Tolling is an unfortunate instrument to use in certain ways because it raises finance. Whereas the objective may be to move traffic on to more appropriate roads, tolling may be inappropriately used by authorities that wish to raise finance. Tolling of roads is an issue for the Dublin Transport Organisation, the National Roads Authority and the Minister to decide upon. However, the tolling of the C ring road would be inappropriate.
Will the Deputy vote with the Opposition?
Tolling the ring road would have the opposite effect to that which is intended. The motion before the House is not designed for that purpose and is aimed at pre-empting a decision that has not been made.
The motion is designed to provide the Deputy with the opportunity to vote against tolling.
I oppose tolling and have no problem in stating that. However, it is apparent that Fianna Fáil, given the past contributions of its Members, is not opposed to tolling roads. Fianna Fáil introduced tolling and supports the principle because the National Roads Authority Act was passed when that party was in Government. That legislation makes provision for the National Roads Authority to examine the possibility of introducing tolling. I merely suggest it would be inappropriate to introduce a toll on the C ring road in Dublin because it was built for a particular reason.
Controlling traffic is an essential part of traffic management. My contribution will ensure the Minister is aware of my position. The appropriate mechanisms put in place by the legislation will be used to ensure that tolls are not introduced on the ring road. I do not trust the motion because Fianna Fáil will probably change its view on another occasion and bring forward a motion in support of the tolling of roads. Therefore, I support the strategy put in place by the National Roads Authority.
Fair play to the Deputy, he has a brass neck.
Tallaght Town Centre will come under stress when the tolls are introduced.
I wish to share time with Deputy Michael Ahern and Deputy Dempsey.
Is that agreed? Agreed.
This issue is of major concern in my constituency in view of the December opening of the Northern Cross Route. I support the motion and congratulate Deputy Dempsey for establishing a firm Fianna Fáil policy against the tolling of the ring road. Deputy Eric Byrne earlier stated this is a silly issue. Since his scripts are supplied by the Democratic Left press office, the Deputy is obviously speaking on behalf of his party Leader, Deputy De Rossa. I will be glad to inform my constituents that Democratic Left regards this as a stupid, silly and irrelevant issue.
I was amused to hear Deputy Seán Ryan claim credit for the Northern Cross Route on behalf of the Labour Party. Thank God this matter was decided upon and approved when Fianna Fáil was in power because action would not be taken if we had to wait for the Labour Party to make a decision. I am a member of the city council and have witnessed the actions and behaviour of Labour councillors in connection with the Dublin Port Tunnel. The only suggestion they continually make is that action should be deferred. They are obviously scared to make a decision. This is typical behaviour among Labour Party Members who have decided they have one year remaining in Government and should keep their heads down, avoid making foolish decisions, and hope the people vote them back into office.
There is a similar situation with regard to tolling. Why will the Minister not inform the NRA of the action he desires it to take? He has delayed in the hope that, when the decision must be made, he will not be in office. What sort of leadership is that? I do not necessarily oppose all tolls, particularly in the case of private sector involvement or the proposed port tunnel. These involve completely different roadways to that envisaged for the ring road. When motorists enter the proposed port tunnel they will use it for three to four miles. However, people will not drive on to the ring road at Cloughran and travel around the city. They will enter the road at Cloughran, Ballymun, Finglas, the Navan Road, etc., and travel for one to two miles. Tolling cannot be introduced in that instance because it will merely drive the traffic back into residential areas. It would also betray the relationship we have tried to build up with residential groups in connection with the proposed tunnel. We inform people about what will happen and ask them to believe us. If we change our minds and introduce tolling where it was not originally suggested, it will damage our relationship with the people and destroy our hopes for instigating other major infrastructural developments.
It is evident, from their contributions, that Government backbenchers use the same script writer. The common thread of their arguments is that Fianna Fáil was in Government for many years and is responsible for everything that was or was not done. However, it must be remembered that the Labour Party has been in Government for 13 of the past 26 years. It is difficult to understand how its members can make pronouncements about the actions taken during that period.
The use of cars and other vehicles on our roads is part and parcel of today's lifestyle. Provision of an efficient system to allow for the smooth flow of traffic is essential. During the past ten years there has been massive expenditure in my constituency, Cork East, and the adjoining constituency, Cork North Central. There is an excellent road system running from Fermoy and Midleton into Cork city but problems arise at the Dunkettle roundabout, where the two roads meet. From that point, there are massive problems for traffic entering and leaving the city. The Lee tunnel is proposed as the solution to alleviate such problems but I fear that if a toll is imposed motorists will ignore the tunnel and continue to clog the city with traffic. The purpose of the tunnel is to open up the south side of the city but this will be defeated if a toll is imposed.
This toll system is a new form of taxation and it gives the lie to the Government's assertion that it is interested in real tax reform and tax equity. Their tax reform policy is a three card trick —"now you see it, now you don't"— but people will recognise that and will give the Government its answer in the next couple of months.
I wish to thank those who contributed to the debate, particularly the Labour Party Deputies who, I expect, will live up to what they said in the House and vote for the motion. We heard six Labour Party speakers, including the Minister, who was not as clear as some of his backbenchers about the fact that he opposes tolls. Nevertheless, he gave the impression that everything would work out well at the end of the day. The six Labour Deputies spoke against the concept of tolls, and they will have an opportunity to show how sincere they are when it is time to vote, considering they were levelling charges of hypocrisy across the floor of the House last night and today.
The amendment tabled by the Progressive Democrats relates to a major policy issue worthy of a separate debate. It refers not just to roads but to all public infrastructure. Perhaps they would consider withdrawing that amendment for debate at a later time.
I will refer briefly to matters raised by Deputies over the past three hours. Deputy Hogan, notably the only Fine Gael Deputy to speak on this motion, attempted to distort it and to mislead the public as to its intent. He had much to say about county roads. As he was the only Fine Gael Deputy to speak, and spoke in favour of tolls, I have to take it that he has spoken on behalf of the Fine Gael Party in favour of the idea of tolling these roads.
He is also chairman of the Fine Gael Party.
As Deputy Ahern says, he is chairman of the Fine Gael Party, so my assumption is a safe one.
It was amusing to hear Labour Party Deputies accuse Fianna Fáil of being hypocritical and of shedding crocodile tears. Deputy Broughan referred to the Local Government (Toll Roads) Act, 1979 which was passed when Fianna Fáil were in Government. Labour have been in power for the past 13 years and have not rescinded or repealed that legislation. It is a bit rich for them to delve into history for evidence that Fianna Fáil is in favour of tolling the Dublin C Ring Road or the Lee tunnel.
Deputy Seán Ryan referred to U-turns by Fianna Fáil. If there is anyone in this House who should not talk about U-turns, it is Deputy Ryan who swore on his life's blood that he would never vote for service charges in Fingal County Council, yet when he was chairman of Fingal County Council he proposed the estimates and the service charges. Perhaps the fact that he wanted to hold on to the Chair of that local authority had something to do with it. If that is the depth of his commitment and his principle, we can take what he says on this matter with a grain of salt.
Deputy Eric Byrne seems to think this debate is silly. He went back into the history of Fianna Fáil, something he always does when he makes a speech here. He is the last man in the world who should do that. If I were to mention his party's support of Ceausescu and the eastern communist dictators down through the years he would claim it was grossly unfair to go so far back into history. Nevertheless, that is where his roots are.
I thank the Minister for his very generous tribute to his Fianna Fáil predecessors. He spent 25 to 30 per cent of his time outlining the enormous contribution made by Fianna Fáil Ministers to the road network and roads policy over the years. It was a very generous tribute, even if it was not intended, and was very much appreciated by me and the Fianna Fáil Party. I regret, though, that he was a little shy in acknowledging that all the money he is currently spending on the national road network results from the efforts of a Fianna Fáil Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil Ministers when they secured the money for the road network and other infrastructure at Edinburgh many years ago. I also regret that the Minister attempted to distort the motion and mislead people as to its intent. Fianna Fáil's motion is consistent with the guidelines set down by previous Fianna Fáil Ministers and with their stance on tolls and investments in roads. One of the criteria mentioned in the list of conditions to be met is that there must be private funding before any road will be tolled. There is no private funding for the roads mentioned in this motion, and for that reason we tabled it. The motion is specific. It relates to the remaining sections of the M50 and the Lee tunnel. It is not a political gimmick, as the Minister implied. The Minister attempted to denigrate this party for highlighting the serious concerns being expressed by many people and to distort the genuine concerns we are articulating as an Opposition party on behalf of thousands of people around this city, to whom the Labour Deputies paid lip service during this debate. The Minister attempted to portray our motion as a political gimmick and described Fianna Fáil as a party going down a cul-de-sac, simply because we represent the views of many thousands of people in the areas that will be affected by tolling.
Over the past ten years the Minister and his party have made a virtue of taking the high moral ground, lecturing the lesser mortals in other parties, especially people in Fianna Fáil. Most of the lecturing has been to indicate how virtuous the Labour Party Members are and how committed they are to openness, transparency and accountability. The Minister's contribution showed that the virtues the Labour Party preach so consistently are those the Labour Party believes should apply to everybody but themselves. They believe they are so virtuous that they do not need to apply these rules to themselves. I say that because last night the Minister accused Fianna Fáil of attempting to fool the plain people of Cork and Dublin, and motorists generally but that charge was simply a smokescreen to hide his own attempts to fool everybody including, it appears, his own backbenchers. He took a nod and wink approach to the motion by saying he would consider every aspect of any proposal brought to him, but that we knew how he felt about the matter and it would be all right on the night.
Who does the Minister think he is fooling? He is not fooling anybody on this side of the House. During his speech, which was all bluff and bluster, he threw in a few red herrings to avoid responsibility — he could not speak specifically on the routes to which the motion refers because of his quasi-judicial role, but he was seriously concerned and would consider everything carefully. The Minister knows the consequences of tolling these roads. He is aware of the huge diversion and the environmental damage that will occur. He is aware also of the dangers that will arise in the residential areas and the terrors that will be caused to residents who will fear for the safety of their children. The Minister knows also that no European country allows ring roads to be tolled around their cities and of the taxation levels being paid by motorists already. While the Minister is aware of all this it appears he is prepared to allow the National Roads Authority to continue to waste public money in putting a proposal to him that should be rejected by him and by this House.
The time has come to put the question.
The motion was tabled to give Members an opportunity to make known their opposition to the tolling of these routes. The vote will decide.
- Ahearn, Theresa.
- Barrett, Seán.
- Barry, Peter.
- Bell, Michael.
- Bhamjee, Moosajee.
- Boylan, Andrew.
- Bradford, Paul.
- Bhreathnach, Niamh.
- Bree, Declan.
- Broughan, Tommy.
- Browne, John (Carlow-Kilkenny).
- Bruton, John.
- Bruton, Richard.
- Burke, Liam.
- Burton, Joan.
- Byrne, Eric.
- Carey, Donal.
- Connaughton, Paul.
- Costello, Joe.
- Crawford, Seymour.
- Creed, Michael.
- Currie, Austin.
- Deasy, Austin.
- Deenihan, Jimmy.
- De Rossa, Proinsias.
- Doyle, Avril.
- Dukes, Alan M.
- Durkan, Bernard J.
- Ferris, Michael.
- Fitzgerald, Brian.
- Fitzgerald, Frances.
- Flaherty, Mary.
- Flanagan, Charles.
- Gallagher, Pat (Laoighis-Offaly).
- Gilmore, Eamon.
- Harte, Paddy.
- Higgins, Michael D.
- Hogan, Philip.
- Howlin, Brendan.
- Kavanagh, Liam.
- Kemmy, Jim.
- Kenny, Enda.
- Lowry, Michael.
- Lynch, Kathleen.
- McCormack, Pádraic.
- McDowell, Derek.
- McGinley, Dinny.
- McGrath, Paul.
- McManus, Liz.
- Mulvihill, John.
- Noonan, Michael (Limerick East).
- O'Keeffe, Jim.
- O'Shea, Brian.
- O'Sullivan, Toddy.
- Pattison, Séamus.
- Penrose, William.
- Quinn, Ruairí.
- Rabbitte, Pat.
- Ring, Michael.
- Ryan, John.
- Ryan, Seán.
- Shatter, Alan.
- Sheehan, P. J.
- Shortall, Róisín.
- Spring, Dick.
- Stagg, Emmet.
- Taylor, Mervyn.
- Timmins, Godfrey.
- Walsh, Eamon.
- Ahern, Bertie.
- Ahern, Dermot.
- Ahern, Michael.
- Ahern, Noel.
- Aylward, Liam.
- Brennan, Matt.
- Brennan, Séamus.
- Cowen, Brian.
- Cullen, Martin.
- Davern, Noel.
- Dempsey, Noel.
- de Valera, Síle.
- Ellis, John.
- Fitzgerald, Liam.
- Flood, Chris.
- Foley, Denis.
- Fox, Mildred.
- Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.
- Gregory, Tony.
- Harney, Mary.
- Haughey, Seán.
- Hughes, Séamus.
- Jacob, Joe.
- Keaveney, Cecilia.
- Kenneally, Brendan.
- Keogh, Helen.
- Killeen, Tony.
- Kirk, Séamus.
- Kitt, Tom.
- Lawlor, Liam.
- Lenihan, Brian.
- Browne, John (Wexford).
- Burke, Raphael P.
- Byrne, Hugh.
- Callely, Ivor.
- Clohessy, Peadar.
- Connolly, Ger.
- Coughlan, Mary.
- Leonard, Jimmy.
- Martin, Micheál.
- McCreevy, Charlie.
- McDaid, James.
- Moffatt, Tom.
- Molloy, Robert.
- Morley, P. J.
- Moynihan, Donal.
- Ó Cuív, Éamon.
- O'Donnell, Liz.
- O'Donoghue, John.
- O'Keeffe, Ned.
- O'Malley, Desmond J.
- O'Rourke, Mary.
- Power, Seán.
- Quill, Máirín.
- Ryan, Eoin.
- Smith, Brendan.
- Smith, Michael.
- Treacy, Noel.
- Wallace, Dan.
- Wallace, Mary.
- Walsh, Joe.
- Woods, Michael.